HOUSTON - JUNE 22: Freddy Adu #20 of the U.S.A. attempts to control the ball as he his defended by Gabriel Gomez #6 of Panama in the second half at Reliant Stadium on June 22, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Freddy Adu Joins Philadelphia Union, Won't Be Designated Player

The Goats have the top spot in the Allocation Order and are supposedly itching to use it on the 22-year-old midfielder.

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Fitting Freddy Adu Into The Philadelphia Union's Attack - Brotherly Game

There have been those to suggest the Philadelphia Union's addition of Freddy Adu is essentially a swap for Carlos Ruiz. While the timing of the two moves makes such a statement tempting, the reality is that the two players fill significantly different roles.

Ruiz was very much a forward, and one who was particularly focused on putting the ball in the back of the net. Adu is is a player whose best attributes are his ability to break down a defense and set up teammates.

The Brotherly Game, SB Nation's Union blog, recognizes this and outlines the various ways that Peter Nowak may choose to deploy his newest weapon:

The first of these options would, essentially, be a continuation of how the Union have played up to now: two strikers up top, two central midfielders, and two wingers. Adu would be the more advanced central midfielder, and he would be backed up by the more defensive Brian Carroll. Nowak would be left with several options at striker; Jack McInerney, Veljko Panouvic, Sebastien Le Toux, or Danny Mwanga could start as forwards, while Justin Mapp and Keon Daniel could take up the wing positions. Le Toux could drop back to winger as well, sending Daniel to the bench.

The other possible way that Adu could be used is as what could theoretically be used would be as more of a withdrawn forward in a formation that would play very much like a 4-5-1. The biggest downside to this formation would be forcing Sebastian Le Toux back into the midfield, where he's be significantly less effective.

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Freddy Adu Officially Signs With Philadelphia Union, But Not As DP

Freddy Adu, once believed to the the player that would take soccer in the United States to another level, has officially returned to MLS, coincidentally to once again play for his first professional coach. The Philadelphia Union confirmed on Friday that they had signed the 22-year-old after Chivas USA passed on him in allocation. The team said he will not be a Designated Player, despite initial reports that he would be.

Adu will reportedly be available for selection as soon as this weekend, which would be his first MLS appearance since leaving Real Salt Lake to sign with Portugal's Benefica in 2007. Since then, he has failed to find anything close to a permanent home, as Benefica has sent him out on loan every year and he has played in placed like Greece (Aris), France (AS Monaco) and, most recently, Turkey (Rizespor).

During his first stint in MLS, Adu showed flashes of developing into a quality player, but as a teenager playing in a very physical league, he had trouble finding consistency. He played 87 games and scored 11 goals from 2004-06 with DC United, who was then coached by Peter Nowak. 

It will be interesting to see how Nowak utilizes Adu as the Union are in the midst of battle for the Eastern Conference. On paper, it may seem like Adu simply replaces the recently departed Carlos Ruiz, but in reality the two player significantly different roles. While Ruiz was a pure scorer, Adu's best attributes are his ability to break down defenders and his playmaking. It's not impossible to see him deployed as a sort of withdrawn forward, but it seems far more likely that he'll be used as a central midfielder.

In recent weeks, that's a role that has been filled by 20-year-old Colombian Roger Torres, but more regularly by Kyle Nakazawa since Nowak has started using more of a central attacking midfielder. Adu would probably be an upgrade over either player, although both have shown positive flashes.

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Freddy Adu To Union: Is He Or Isn't He A Designated Player?

There is no longer any doubt: Freddy Adu has landed with the Philadelphia Union. Of course, this being MLS where rules are rarely crystal clear, there are still plenty of questions about his status and where that leaves various teams.

The first big question is whether or not Adu is a Designated Player. Fox Soccer's Ives Galarcep first reported the news and was unclear about his DP status. Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl shortly followed up with a news that Adu was a DP. 

As a midseason signing, making Adu a DP does make some sense since he would only count about $167,000 against the salary cap. Considering some of the money used to acquire Adu was surely paid to Benefica to buy out his contract, DP status would make some logical sense.

The significance of Adu's DP status is, itself, an open question. The MLS Rules & Regulations do not seem to allow for exceptions based on a player's DP status, stating simply: "The allocation ranking is the mechanism used to determine which MLS club has first priority to acquire a U.S. National Team player who signs with MLS after playing abroad, or a former MLS player who returns to the League after having gone to a club abroad for a transfer fee." But various MLS officials have stated that a DP would not have to go through allocation.

One other outstanding issue is tied to just how Adu ended up with the Union. Chivas USA had been rumored to be after Adu and were supposedly close to signing him until owner Jorge Vergara stepped in. Some reports suggest it was a simple money issue and that Vergara did not want to pay Adu's asking price. The other active rumor is that Vergara nixed the deal out of a desire to add more Mexican players to his team. The big problem with the second theory is that signing Adu would not preclude Vergara from signing Mexican players, as Chivas USA currently has three DP spots open and Mexican players would not have to go through the allocation process.

There is a Friday press conference scheduled that will presumably answer most of these questions. Until then, this is all likely to remain speculation.

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Freddy Adu Returning To MLS With Philadelphia Union, According To Report

So much for those Freddy Adu to Chivas USA rumors, huh? In what will seem like a move completely out of left field to most fans of Major League Soccer, the United States international attacking midfielder appears to be set for a return to MLS with the Philadelphia Union, not Chivas USA. Ives Galarcep of Soccer By Ives and Fox Soccer is reporting that Adu was in talks with Chivas to sign as a Designated Player, but talks fell through and Adu will sign with the Union as a non-DP.

According to the SBI report, Chivas were negotiating with Adu but upper management nixed the move. If Adu is returning on a non-DP contract, he will likely have to go through the Allocation Order system, in which Chivas sits first and Philadelphia sits second. 

Adu has struggled to find time in Europe since moving from Real Salt Lake after the 2007 Under-20 World Cup. He is (or was) contracted to Benfica in Portugal, but they have loaned him all over the continent in recent years. Adu has failed to stick in loan spells with Belenenses, Monaco, Aris and Rizespor, but a couple of great performances at the 2011 Gold Cup have caused interest in Adu to increase.

The Union will reportedly announce the signing on Friday, at which point we should learn the details about his acquisition, if a transfer fee will be paid and whether or not Adu had to go through the Allocation Order.

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MLS Transfer Rumor: Chivas USA After Freddy Adu

The Goats have the top spot in the Allocation Order and are supposedly itching to use it on the 22-year-old midfielder.

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